By Steve Huffman / Times-News; Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM.
This just in: Burlington is one of the 100 smartest cities in the country.
Officials with San Francisco-based Lumosity, a website that turns memory exercises into online games, have used information they’ve gathered to rank the nation’s top 100 cities in terms of intelligence of inhabitants.
Burlington came in at No. 52. The only other North Carolina city to crack the list is Boone, which ranked No. 23.
Results were made public Tuesday.
“That’s just wonderful, that’s all I can say,” said Burlington City Manager Harold Owen, trying not very successfully to stifle a chuckle when informed of Burlington’s prestigious national ranking.
“If you can’t laugh, you’ve got a long road in front of you.”
Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall said he hadn’t been inundated with calls from the national media seeking comment pertaining to his fair city’s placement among the country’s intellectual elite and, ever-mindful of the struggles of the common taxpayer, bemoaned, “I don’t think we’re going to see much financial benefit from this.”
According to Lumosity, the website has amassed the world’s largest dataset of human cognitive performance, with data and insights collected from more than 40 million people. The study used data from more than 3 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 75 who have played Lumosity brain-training games.
The games measure performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention and problem-solving. The scores were then ranked by location.
Many of the cities on the list are prominent college towns. Ithaca, N.Y., which topped the list, is home to both Cornell University and Ithaca College.
State College, Pa., No. 2, is home to Penn State University. West Lafayette, Ind., is third. That’s the home of the Boilermakers of Purdue University.
Even lovely Boone is home to Appalachian State University.
Burlington is home to … er, the central offices of the Alamance-Burlington School System?
The Lumosity guys said the link between intelligence and higher education suggests those engaged in learning and cognitively stimulating activities build a “cognitive reserve” that helps maintain and improve cognitive performance.
Sans a prestigious school of higher education, the inclusion of Burlington on the list may simply prove we are humans blessed with extraordinary intellect.